Wednesday 25 January 2017

Packing More Protein: What You Need To Know

In the news this week we have seen another story concerning the effect of certain foods on the body. It can get very confusing trying to work out what is best for us to eat. Many of us now follow specialist diets which eliminate either partial or whole food groups. Is it best to try and get all the nourishment and goodness our bodies need from just the food we eat or should we use supplements and other products to help us?

One area we can't ignore whatever diet we follow is the need for protein. It makes up a component of every cell in your body. If you are lacking in protein this may show in your hair and nails as they are mostly made of protein. It is also used by the body to build and repair tissue and muscle as well as the formation of blood, bones and skin. To discuss the matter further take a look at today's guest post.

“The New Year often means a change in diet and lifestyle for some people. One of the things you can do is to add more protein to your diet. A growing trend in people wanting to add protein to their diets has seen a rise in the number of protein-enhanced products that are available in supermarkets and other shops. Now you can find added protein in everything from your breakfast cereal to beer. The question is should you be adding these protein-enhanced products to your grocery shop?

The Market researchers Mintel has found that in 2016 there were 40% more protein product launches than in the previous year. This is a trend that has has been seen across Europe, North America and Asia. Not only are 'high protein' claims being seen on more unusual foods products but also the established market of protein bars and shakes continues to rise. Why is there such a trend in protein consumption and how can you increase your protein intake if you need to?

Are you packing enough?

It's not just adding protein to one's diet that has become a trend. In general people are looking to follow a much healthier lifestyle. This wellness trend is particularly popular amongst people who are looking to achieve fitness goals. The addition of extra protein in your diet could help to support your workout plans as well as helping you feel fuller for longer and therefore stop you from unnecessary snacking .

Protein is essential to for the human body to function properly. As well as aiding in the building of muscle it also helps to create antibodies which are needed to fight off infections. The government has issued guidelines through Public Health England which states that women aged 19-64 should aim to eat around 45g of protein each day depending on their weight. For men this increases to 55.5g. It may seem like a lot of protein to pack into your day's meals but it actually only makes up around 11% of your daily calorie allowance. Such is the ease of protein intake that the majority of the UK population manages to eat enough protein according to the published guidelines without the need for any fancy processed goods with added protein.

What, when and how?

If you have a diet that includes plenty of lean meat, eggs and pulses such as lentils and beans then you are probably consuming enough protein. However if your diet excludes certain food groups or you exercise a lot you may need to consider packing a little more protein in. There are also a number of points you need to remember when dealing with protein.

1. Not all protein is equal. Different types of protein contain different types of amino acids. Protein from meat and animal products such as chicken, beef and eggs contain nine essential amino acids. The protein found in grains, beans and nuts contains fewer as well as different amino acids. For this reason you should try to vary your protein sources.

2. Protein can help with tissue recovery so if you're planning a gym session or workout try to have a meal or snack containing protein within two hours of exercising as this is when the muscles are particularly receptive to protein synthesis.

3. Unlike fat, protein is not stored by the body so if you consume more than needed it will be excreted by the body. By eating too much protein you may find you are having it in place of other foods containing vital vitamins and minerals. One problem with the British diet is that breakfast and lunch is usually quite carbohydrate heavy with the majority of the protein being served in the evening meal. To maximise the impact of protein in your diet try to spread your intake throughout the day.

Protein hits to create at home

Buying products with added protein in them such as specialist cereals and protein bars can get expensive if you use them regularly. If you want to get some protein into your first meal of the day try adding some protein whey to your usual porridge or homemade smoothie. You can also add grains or use nut butters to make pancakes. There's a selection of protein packed pancake recipes on MyGreatRecipes along with homemade protein ball 'how tos'. Don't forget that one type of protein shouldn't be the only thing on your plate. If you're having something like chicken remember to add other food groups such as legumes in order to vary the nutrients you are consuming. There's more ways to pack protein into your diet than just eating chicken breasts and tins of tuna.

Do you get enough protein in your diet? Have you bought 'added protein' products or do you prefer to include protein as part of your daily meals?”

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